Learning effective communication skills is a straightforward process that allows you to express yourself and improve both your personal and professional relationships.
Communication skills top the list of fundamental skills needed to succeed in the workplace and life. Your professional image depends on effective workplace communication.
Men and Women communicate differently
There’s no denying that men and women communicate differently. Men originate from Mars, whereas women originate from Venus. So it all makes sense that we communicate differently. Aspirations, psychological thinking, and social behaviors of men and women are very different, although we speak the same language.
While it’s a misconception that women are natural speakers, they sometimes struggle to be heard at work. A listener’s attention can be captured by a woman’s body language and the characteristics that attract and retain a listener’s attention. However, many women in the workplace mistakenly communicate in ways that undermine their projected confidence and competence.
It’s common knowledge that men and women behave differently, but stereotyping is never appropriate. The qualities of men and women might differ based on the individual.
In social meetings, as well as in the workplace, women are taught or conditioned to be silent or to listen rather than speak. Oftentimes, women try to keep their lips sealed out of fear that they will be misunderstood or mistreated by their coworkers.
Women’s reluctance or unwillingness to speak up has resulted in a lack of progress in many of their occupations. As a result, their professional advancement may be stunted and their potential for leadership positions may be curtailed. Women’s communication skills may be improved by adopting an attitude that is open to criticism and willing to learn from their errors.
Communication with others through texts, social media, and email is increasingly important. With that, more messages mean more potential for misunderstandings. People from the younger generation, may not know or even understand the importance of effective communication skills in the workplace, to their peers, and people in general.
Knowing how to listen well and communicate clearly will help you express yourself in job interviews, business meetings, and in your personal life as well.
Effective Communication is Vital
Effective communication is vital both in and out of the workplace because it allows you to translate your intentions and feelings into easily understandable messages. Every communication involves (at least) one sender, a message, and a recipient.
This may sound simple, but communication is a very complex subject. The complexity is why good communication skills are considered so desirable not just at work but even your life partner.
Developing an effective communication process helps you understand what others are saying and makes you a better person, a partner, a team manager, collaborator, and a member of a team.
Kinds of Communication
- Verbal – speaking face to face or via phone
- Non-verbal – this is your body language.
- Written – these are your snail mails, emails, books, social media, magazines, newspapers.
- Visualizations – graphs, logos, maps
Improve your Communication Skills
1. Listening Skills
Listening is so important and it requires focus and concentrated effort both mental and sometimes physical. You pay attention to the speaker, not just the story being told but the essence, how it’s told, language used, and tone of voice.
Listening builds trust and when you make the effort to listen to someone, they recognize your interest. They can tell that you’re invested in what they’re saying. It reduces misunderstanding, oftentimes, misunderstandings aren’t a big deal, but some can have major consequences. Misunderstandings are one of the most common effects of poor communication.
Listening carefully encourages empathy. When you hear right from a source, you’ll have a deeper understanding of their perspective, which is key to having empathy. It also improves business relationships and improves your leadership skills.
2. Body Language
Men and women use body language differently. Men don’t express themselves as much as women. It’s vital to avoid attitudes, gestures, or poses that suggest vulnerability. Men are seen to be highly private! Many males appear serious and realistic in conversation.
Men are seen to be highly private! Many males appear serious and realistic in conversation. Women also communicate nonverbally. The female voice is often accompanied by facial expressions.
Women must avoid these:
You should not cross your arms
Crossing your legs while standing – looks apologetic, instead stand straight, back straight and you will look confident.
Clasping hands down low – this looks you are unsure or lacking confidence. Better yet, rest your hands naturally or in a neutral position.
3. Be brief, and stop apologizing
Practice being brief yet detailed in your written and spoken communication so the other person understands what you’re trying to express.
Apologizing may fix many problems for many ladies! Men dislike apologizing because it feels like a concession. They fear being perceived as weak for admitting fault and losing power or influence if they apologize. Men, on the other hand, regard being apologized to as the other person embracing the hierarchy, which supports their dominance.
Avoid saying these phrases:
“Sorry to bother you” – unless you have done something wrong then apologize if not stop using this.
“I guess” – if you want to speak about something, say it firmly and directly.
4. Negotiating and Compromise
Fear of saying the wrong things and an inability to articulate ideas perfectly are some of the major fears that plague women in leadership and affect their overall ability to communicate like a leader.
Women enjoy sharing and relating and the quality of relationships whereas men place a high priority on tasks, getting results and solving problems. Men make decisions quicker than women. Women seek advice, input and consensus from others.
For men, negotiating is often not an option. It is a sign of weakness and shows that they are giving in or being submissive to whoever they are talking to. Women, on the other hand, tend to be happier negotiating. Finding a middle ground doesn’t show weakness on anyone’s behalf, rather, a mutual respect and desire to get the job done.
Compromise is a significant tool in negotiations because it shows maturity to accept another viewpoint and find a mutually acceptable solution.
5. Consider your choice of words
Women are more inclined to divulge details while speaking. This might be about anything. Women criticize others more than men. Men tend to brag more about their achievements.
Always pause before speaking, avoiding the temptation to utter the first thing that comes to mind. Take time to consider what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Do not talk down to anyone, treating everyone with respect. Treat others as your equal.
It’s not simple to communicate effectively as a woman in the workplace. Effective communication is a skill that may be learned by following a few of the above suggestions.
This post is not meant to suggest that women lack communication skills; rather, it is meant to show women that these are generally unconscious behaviors that need to be addressed and improved to avoid repeating negative gender stereotypes.
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